JAMESTOWN – Love Elementary School students recently received some special treats from a retired educator in New Mexico.
Jamestown Public School officials say each child in the school received a hand knit scarf and goodie bags with treats from Susan Colquitt. Colquitt, or Grandma Susie as she is called, only asked that students do something nice for others that only requires a little of their time during the holiday season – she calls it “Playing it Forward.” She also included a PowerPoint presentation and an upbeat, positive letter for each classroom. Colquitt knitted 219 scarfs for Love students.
“When Grandma Susie first contacted us about her plan for us, we had no idea of the magnitude of her gift,” said Love Elementary School Principal Connie Foster. “When the three huge boxes arrived with the beautiful scarves, the gift bags, candy, pencils, erasers, the letters to the children and the beautiful PowerPoint story, we were overwhelmed. And the fact that she lives on the other side of the country in New Mexico and chose us as the recipient of her kindness and HOURS of loving tenacity, just added to the mystique. The students were so delighted to receive their scarves. I hope they will use them this winter when they are walking to and from school as well as when they’re outside building snowmen and sledding down hills. I hope they will remember this gift and her charge to each of them to ‘play it forward’ with an act of service toward someone else. And (secretly), I hope that someday I can be an awe-inspiring Grandma Susie, too.”
As it turns out, there was a local connection. Colquitt and Persell Middle School teacher, Annika Putney, were both Fulbright Teachers in Japan 14 years ago. They have kept in touch over the years and when Colquitt asked Putney about local elementary schools, Love School became the focus of her goodwill. Mrs. Colquitt has been spreading cheer for the past seven holiday seasons to various elementary schools across the country.
“It is my hope that this holiday surprise will be positively received and that your extraordinary students will have an opportunity to understand and embrace the timeless theme of, ‘Playing it Forward,’” said Colquitt. “It has truly been an honor and privilege to celebrate the awesome, amazing and extraordinary students attending Love School.”
The kids were so excited with their surprise.
“Grandma Susie showed a tremendous amount of kindness to me by making me a scarf,” said Love fourth grader Aaliyah Rivera. “I am going to ‘play it forward’ by helping a homeless man. By my house, there is a homeless man on the streets. I can help him by giving him food or money. My sister sometimes helps with the homeless so instead of my parents helping her, I can help her. I can also help by doing chores around the house.”